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Preweaning handling and shock : their relationship to subsequent adult emotionality and discrimination learning Toussaint, Nelly Adelina


Three groups of nine male hooded rats each were either daily shocked, daily handled, or left undisturbed from three to 22 days of age. When 67 days old, all Ss were administered a series of emotionality tests followed by five days of training in a brightness discrimination task which required a minimum of locomotion. This was followed by a drinking suppression test based on a conditioned fear measuring procedure designed by Leaf and Muller (1965). The shocked rats showed less emotionality and superior learning than the handled and nonhandled rats. The drinking suppression test failed to distinguish between the groups although there was a significant conditioning effect. A correlation of all the dependent measures indicated that differences in locomotor activity might have been reflected in the learning scores. It was concluded that infantile handling and shock affected adult emotionality and learning differently, and that neither manipulation produced unitary effects on the emotionality measures.

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